rabbitprincess's Reviews > XPD

XPD by Len Deighton
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's review
Jun 24, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: bought-secondhand, 2012
Recommended for: established Deighton fans
Read from June 11 to 21, 2012 , read count: 1

"XPD": n., also v., stands for "Expedient Demise". Happens to those who find out information that the intelligence community does not want them to know.

In this Len Deighton novel, the information that causes XPD orders to be issued is the existence of the so-called "Hitler Minutes" -- reports of a meeting between Churchill and Hitler in 1940 that involved peace negotiations of a nature that would be abhorrent to the Allies. The story follows MI6 agent Boyd Stuart as he works to prevent the documents from being published, and the efforts of the people who have the documents to publish them.

The story was all right but this is definitely not one of my favourite Deightons. It takes a while for the Hitler Minutes to even show up, so I was at a bit of a loss at first as to why I should care about the people being discussed, although I did find Sir Sydney Ryden, Boyd's father-in-law and also the Director-General, an amusing character. And the XPDs themselves, when they appear, are sudden and shocking, so full points for the emotional impact. Also full points for plausibility; I was 99% sure that these Hitler Minutes were fictional, but Deighton has a way of making that 1% uncertainty much more persuasive. A very convincing writer indeed.

I can already tell this is one I'm going to have to reread, so three stars for now.


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Reading Progress

06/14/2012 page 86
18.53% "Must confess I am a bit lost at times."
06/15/2012 page 115
24.78% "Wouldn't want to translate THOSE handwritten files."
06/16/2012 page 137
29.53% "Yeah, I'm thinking the back cover blurb did this book a disservice... what else is new."
06/17/2012 page 202
43.53% "YES! Finally mention of title."
06/20/2012 page 351
75.65% "Expedient demise indeed. Or perhaps convenient."
06/21/2012 page 431
92.89% "Finished. A chilling ending."

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